Many people have adopted a habit of fasting, or abstaining from food or drink for a certain period each day. Studies suggest that this may help with weight loss. Let’s find out more about this topic.
Fasting Helps With Weight Loss
In a 2012 study published in the journal Appetite, researchers examined the effects of a 16-day intermittent fasting intervention on overweight adults. They randomly selected a sample of 40 participants and divided them into two groups. The first group was given snacks and encouraged to eat as much as they wanted during the day, while the second group was asked to refrain from food after 5 p.m. each day. After the 16-day study period, the participants in the first group gained an average weight of 1.2 kg, while the second group lost about 2 kg. These results suggested that intermittent fasting may help to shed off some extra pounds.
In another study, Danish researchers compared the weight loss effects of a 16-day vegan diet with an equivalent 16-day diet rich in animal products. For the first 8 days, the participants were asked to follow a vegan diet that consisted of “clean” food such as salads, vegetables, and fruit. Following this, they were randomly assigned to one of the two groups. The study suggested that a vegan diet may provide more weight loss advantages than an otherwise equivalent diet rich in animal products. This was most likely because the vegan diet was more sustainable and caused less environmental impact. However, the participants’ BMI (body mass index, a measure of weight relative to height that is used to classify people as either overweight or obese) remained the same in both groups, indicating that the diets may have been equally effective in terms of weight loss.
The Pros And Cons Of Fasting
Although the above studies suggest that fasting may be a productive way to shed off some extra pounds, it is not necessarily a perfect strategy for everyone. One of the major concerns regarding fasting is that it may cause some serious health problems if done improperly. For example, an excessively long fast may cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels which, in turn, may cause damage to the heart and liver. There is also the concern that skipping meals may make a person weaker and less capable of dealing with daily demands – both physical and mental. Some experts even suggest that skipping meals may lower your body’s natural healing ability and make you more susceptible to illnesses. It is also important to eat regularly during the day to prevent hunger pangs from developing – something that would likely be difficult to manage when working at full speed. Lastly, it is important to note that the weight loss benefits of fasting may be exaggerated in some studies. As the above studies demonstrated, participants who fasted for a certain period may lose a few pounds, but their BMI generally did not change. While the studies suggest that fasting may help to shed off some extra pounds, the evidence does not quite support the bold claim that it can help individuals to “transform their bodies” or achieve “miraculous results” as the marketing material for some weight loss products would have you believe.
Should You Try Fasting?
Overall, the evidence suggests that intermittent fasting may be a useful tool for weight loss, but it is not necessarily the be-all-end-all strategy for everyone. Some people may actually lose more weight following a diet that restricts them from eating certain foods or supplements, while others may not see significant benefits at all. In some cases, the body may even rebel against attempts to alter its natural eating patterns by regulating calories and keeping a check on weight gain – a phenomenon known as “diet resistance”. When contemplating whether or not to try intermittent fasting, it is important to keep all of this in mind and consider the individual nuances of your own body – both physical and mental. As the above studies illustrate, some people may experience significant benefits, while others may suffer great harm. This is why it is generally recommended to try out different methods of dieting and see what works best for you.
The bottom line is this: individuals who have tried and tested intermittent fasting and seen significant results should not be discouraged, as they may have found the “key” to unlocking their bodies’ fat-burning potential. As with any new diet or supplement regimen, you should always consult with your personal physician before trying anything new. As always, listening to your body and adjusting your diet and exercise habits accordingly are the key to reaching your maximum weight-loss potential – no matter what method you choose.